Asian markets rise amid lull in global tensions



Asian markets gained in early trading Tuesday as Middle East tensions remained high, but at least didn’t rise any higher.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said U.S. troops are not planning on pulling out of Iraq, despite the release of a draft letter than suggested as much, and also said that despite threats from President Donald Trump, the U.S. would not target Iranian cultural sites if further hostilities break out.

U.S. stocks gained Monday after a mid-session rally, and crude oil prices, which had surged the past two trading days since a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, retreated Tuesday amid the geopolitical lull. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery

CLG20, -1.11%

 and March Brent crude

BRNH20, -1.18%

 , the global benchmark, were last both down more than 1%. Gold prices

GCG20, -0.53%

  also fell from a seven-year high Monday.

Japan’s Nikkei

NIK, +1.39%

  jumped 1.4%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +0.50%

  rose 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, +0.36%

  edged up 0.4% while the Shenzhen Composite

399106, +0.79%

  advanced 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi

180721, +0.95%

 gained 1%. Stocks rose in Singapore

STI, +0.64%

 , but fell in Taiwan

Y9999, -0.64%

 and were about flat in Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.12%

 . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, +1.36%

  rose 1.2%.

Among individual stocks, Sony

6758, +3.56%

  gained in Tokyo trading, as did auto makers such as Toyota

7203, +1.78%

 , Honda

7267, +2.36%

 and Mazda

7261, +2.40%

 . In Hong Kong, casino operator Galaxy Entertainment

27, +2.58%

  rose; along with tech giant Tencent

700, +1.96%

 . Samsung

005930, +0.72%

  advanced in South Korea, while Oil Search

OSH, +2.22%

 and Westpac

WBC, +1.19%

  gained in Australia.


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